In April of 2005, I started No Credit Needed. My primary goal was to get out of debt. (I also wanted to learn more about personal finance and blogging – but my primary goals was to be “debt free”.) I had been listening to Dave Ramsey’s radio program for a few months, so I decided to give his “Baby Steps” a try.
Ten months later, I paid off my last debt. I was (and am) debt free! I had achieved my primary goal. I was, needless to say, ecstatic. I cannot tell you how good it felt to scream, “I’m Debt Free”. (Click here to read a summary of my journey.)
A short time after getting out of debt, I decided to save up an emergency fund – and in just a few months, I was able to do so. Along the way, I was interviewed by Jean Chatzky from Oprah Radio, my site was mentioned in the New York Times, and I was even featured on Clark Howard’s WSB TV – ABC Television show.
Recently, I’ve been focusing on long-term goals, like retirement and college savings. I also recently joined the Money Blog Network – a premier network of personal finance bloggers.
The past two-and-a-half years have been awesome. I’ve learned a lot. I am amazed by the people who run personal finance blogs. I’m also impressed by the loyalty of my readers – who have faithfully followed me through, not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, but 5 different “formats”.
I am excited about the future. I enjoy blogging – and I really enjoy ‘connecting’ with readers (and other bloggers). I can assure you, I have learned more from my readers (and fellow bloggers) than I could have ever imagined – and whatever success I may have had is directly attributable to the folks who read my blog, subscribe to my feed, and link to my content.
It’s funny how something “gets started”. Looking back, I can clearly remember writing my first post. I was sitting at my computer (which, at that time, was tucked away in the corner of our laundry room) and I stumbled across Nevblog. I was intrigued by what Neville was doing – Here was a guy, sitting at his computer, writing about his financial “adventures”. I decided that I wanted to do something similar. I wanted to focus on the personal side of personal finance. (At the time, I had no idea that there were other personal finance blogs – Truth be told, I didn’t really know what a ‘blog’ was – I just thought that it would be cool to write about my journey.)
I signed up for a free account at blogspot, and I started typing. (Here’s the link to my first post.) Basically, I just started writing about my progress – and slowly, but surely, folks started visiting, linking, and commenting. I struggled (and still do) to find my ‘voice’ – but I really, really enjoyed those early days. I cannot tell you how awesome it felt to hit 100 visitors a day – or how cool it was when someone left a comment saying, “You can do it!”
I’m pulling for you. Honestly and sincerely, I don’t care if you are debt free or if you are broke and afraid, I’m pulling for you.
It’s so easy to come off as “Hey, this is easy. If I can do this, why can’t you?” (I compare it to the difference between Moses and Joshua. In the Old Testament, Moses went all the way to the top of the mountain – and when he came down, people were afraid to approach him. Joshua, on the other hand, only went half of the way – and eventually, he was the one who led the people to the Promised Land. Those who speak from the ‘mountain-top’ tend to frighten those who are in the valley – But those who have SEEN the ‘mountain-top – they tend to inspire…)
The reality is, I’m just a regular dude. I sit down at a computer and I type out my thoughts – and I hope that, from time to time, something that I write inspires others.
“Dude, I know where you are, and I know how you feel… and if a guy like me can do this, so can you…”
It’s so easy to feel ‘overwhelmed’ – and when we feel overwhelmed, we settle for inaction. Instead of doing “something”, we do “nothing”. Why? Is it because we are lazy or stupid? No! We just feel trapped by our circumstances – and because we don’t know the next “step”, we just stand still.
If this blog does anything – I hope that it inspires you to figure out the “next step”. Trust me, after you take the first two or three tentative steps towards financial freedom, the next two or three get easier, and the next two or three, easier still.
It might take you 3 months to get out of debt, or 3 years, or 3 decades. So what? The key is – and I had to learn this before I could start to move forward – we must begin to face the facts – and move forward. If you can’t send $200, sen $100. If you can’t send $100, send $50. If you can’t send $50, send $5. If you can’t send $5, send $1. Just – keep – moving – forward.
If my blog had never been mentioned by the NY Times, if I’d never been on TV, even if no one ever read the thing – I’d still be debt free and I’d still be moving forward.
You don’t need a personal finance blog to succeed. All you need is a that “moment” – when the light comes on and the decision is made – “I am going to take the next step. I am going to move forward.”
This post was inspired by my Dad, who is at home, recovering from surgery. He’s doing great – sleeping late and listening to my podcast. Dad, you rock! (Inside joke: Three, baby, three!)